The Nets retired Jason Kidd's No. 5 jersey in a ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday.
A banner bearing Kidd's name and number was raised to the rafters before Brooklyn hosted Miami in a preseason game.
"I come humbled this evening; this is a great honor," Kidd said. "As a kid growing up you think about winning championships, you sometimes think about seeing the legends, Dr. J, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and you hope one day you can achieve that. I'm very thankful and I want to thank the Nets organization for giving me that opportunity."
Kidd, a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer, announced his retirement from basketball in June after 19 seasons. Regarded as one of the greatest all-around point guards in NBA history, Kidd ranks No. 2 all time in assists and steals, trailing only Jazz Hall of Fame guard John Stockton in both categories. He captained the New Jersey Nets to the 2002 and 2003 Finals and won the 2011 championship with the Mavericks. Less than two weeks after Kidd announced his retirement, he signed on to coach the Nets, and the franchise announced in September that Kidd would be honored with a jersey retirement.
"This isn't possible if I don't have my teammates," Kidd said. "When I go up there today, I take my teammates with me. I've only known one way to play the game, and that's hard, but I could never play it by myself. I would like to thank my teammates, and hopefully you understand when we go up, we all go up together."
Former Nets executive Rod Thorn introduced Kidd, praising his former player's impact on the franchise and his team-first game.
"How many times do you get a player who transforms your team from a 26-win team to a 52-win team in one year. Very, very seldom," Thorn said. "That's what Jason did for the Nets. His defense, his rebounding, his passing, his scoring in the clutch were unparalleled. During those great years that we had, when we went to the Finals two straight years, he was the catalyst who made us what we were."
The No. 2 pick in the 1994 draft earned All-America honors as a sophomore at Cal and went on to a lengthy NBA career that included stops with the Mavericks, Suns, Nets and Knicks. Named the 1995 co-Rookie of the Year, Kidd holds career averages of 12.6 points, 8.7 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals, and made the All-NBA first or second team six times and the All-Defensive team nine times. Kidd also won a gold medal with USA Basketball at the 2000 and 2008 Olympics and he received the NBA’s sportsmanship award twice.
"There are so few players who make other people better," Thorn said. "Jason is one of that special breed of player who made every player who played with him better. It's my privilege to be here this evening to welcome him into the pantheon of Nets greats."
Kidd played for the Nets from 2001 until 2008 and ranks first in the franchise’s NBA history in assists and steals, and fourth in points and rebounds. He is the Nets’ postseason leader in points, assists, rebounds and steals.
“This honor is richly deserved,” Nets GM Billy King said in a statement. ”Jason is firmly established in the Nets’ record books as the greatest player in the team’s NBA history, and the retirement of his No. 5 is a fitting conclusion to his legacy as a Nets’ player.”
Kidd’s No. 5 goes into the rafters alongside Drazen Petrovic (No. 3), John Williamson (No. 23), Bill Melchionni (No. 25), Julius Erving (No. 32) and Buck Williams (No. 52). The Nets haven’t retired a jersey since 1999. Kidd will serve a league-mandated two-game suspension at the start of the season after pleading guilty to DWI charges.